22. September, 2019Sermon Notes No comments

2019-09-22-gods-got-your-back-rev-catherine-chan

Scripture: Ruth 1:1-5

1 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. 3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

 

Pain, Trial, Suffering are no respecter of persons.

In those days, there were no kings in Israel and everyone did what was right in their own eyes. (Judges 21:25)

 

1. Naomi’s Misery

The whole town stirred because of them (Ruth 1:19)

Don’t call me Naomi! Call me Mara, “Bitter” instead! Because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full but the Lord brought me back empty! (Ruth 1:20-21)

  • Setback #1: Famine in Israel
  • Setback #2: Became a widow
  • Setback #3: Daughters-in-law barren
  • Setback #4: Sons passed away

Can you imagine Naomi’s plight?

  • Is this fate?
  • Is it just bad luck?
  • Is it the devil?
  • Is it God’s judgement?
  • What had gone wrong?
  • Why did it happen to me?

Question 1: Does God afflict Naomi by making her life bitter as she had claimed?

Question 2: Did Naomi really come home empty?

 

2. God’s Invisible Hand

Naomi had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. (Ruth 1:6)

“Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest (Ruth 1:22)

Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favour. (Ruth 2:2)

“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.” (Lev 19:9-10)

“Ruth set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech”. (Ruth 2:3)

  • God’s invisible hand directed Ruth to that specific field on that specific day and time.
  • God’s invisible hand steered Boaz to show favour to Ruth
    • Ruth: about 35-50 pounds of grain
    • Average worker: 2-5 pounds of grain per day
    • Ruth was able to provide aplenty for Naomi.

The invisible hand of God is directing the smallest and most random details in your life.

Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you gather grain today? Where did you work? May the one who took notice of you be rewarded.” So Ruth told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked. She said, “The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz.” (Ruth 2:19)

It was the Lord who:

  • Stopped the famine
  • Bound Ruth to Naomi in love and devotion
  • Directed Ruth’s steps and granted her favour

God has turned Naomi’s mourning into dancing.

the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me (1:20)

The Lord’s kindness (hesed) has not forsaken the living or the dead (2:20)

The closer relative refused to marry Ruth. Boaz seized the opportunity to marry Ruth.

God’s invisible hand:

  • Provided Ruth a husband to fend for Ruth and Naomi
  • Enabled Ruth to conceive and a son born to Naomi
  • Turned Naomi’s shame and disgrace into the highest honour

Naomi — Obed — King David — Jesus Christ

God is at work to always give each of us a future and a hope!

 

 

By: Rev. Catherine Chan

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